PREVIOUSLY: Luci and Frank have each talked to Mary, Clarke’s sister. Carrie is trying to convince Mary of time travel.
PART 72a: KILLER CONVERSATION
When she reopened her eyes, it took a few moments for the image before her to resolve itself into the concerned and slightly confused expression of Mary. “What… what just happened?” Clarke’s sister inquired softly.
“What did you see?” Carrie said testily.
Mary hesitated. “It looked like my quarter… vanished. Only to reappear a second or two later. But it could have been a trick of the light…”
“It wasn’t the light,” Carrie said, clenching her jaw. “I moved it forward in time.” Whereas if she’d moved it back, causing coexistence instead? Boom, and no more quarter. Not only more difficult, but far too dangerous.
Mary’s pause was longer this time. “And that’s the proof,” she concluded.
“That’s it,” Carrie affirmed, finding the strength to sit up and wipe her brow. “It’s the best I can do right now, without losing complete control. I’m still in training. Hence, using a quarter, not a person.”
She held Mary’s gaze until the older girl was forced to look away, back towards the coin. “I’m not sure I’m convinced,” Mary admitted. “However… I’m no longer as skeptical either.”
“Will you at least accept that time travel may be possible for the remainder of our dialogue?” Carrie pressed.
Mary re-pocketed the quarter. “I’ll accept that there is something beyond the norm that you and your friends are experiencing. We’ll call it time travel.”
“Don’t call them my frie–” Carrie cut herself off with a wave of her hand. “Never mind. On to my more ‘personal difficulties’, as you put it earlier. Okay?”
Mary nodded. “All right…”
Carrie took in a breath. Suddenly faced with the prospect of admitting it, she was no longer sure she wanted to say it any more. But if she couldn’t tell Clarke’s sister, who else was there? “I killed Frank,” she blurted. “And I had to wipe out an entire timeline to erase that misdeed.”
At first, Mary could only stare. Her voice, when it came, was uncertain. “You killed…”
“I don’t expect you to believe it,” Carrie interrupted. “Hell, I sometimes wonder if the mind that merged with mine was outright lying – the power I would have had to tap into to accomplish what I did would be immense. But the memories were too vivid. The pain too raw. So the fact remains that, by delaying my destruction of the time machine, I killed my frie– killed someone.” She slumped back into the couch, feeling exhausted. “I can’t even tell Glen that. He thinks we’re living a whole other timeline.”
“All right,” Mary said slowly. “Then you’re telling me that you are capable of altering past events?”
Carrie couldn’t help it, she laughed. She had to check herself to avoid coming across as hysterical. “That and more. Me and my powers, we’re balanced on a knife’s edge, and if I fall off… well, I don’t know, but I suspect it would be very, very unpleasant for anyone around me.”
“That’s why you’re retreating from everybody?”
Carrie tensed. “I’m not… well, okay, I am. But I have to. It’s the only way they’ll all be safe.”
Mary pursed her lips. “Seems you and Julie could have something in common then.”
“I don’t want to hear anything about Julie.”
“NO!” Carrie said, standing up. She had to throw her arm out for balance, as the sudden motion made her dizzy after her earlier efforts. “Look, I didn’t tell you what I did merely so that you could psychoanalyze me into inviting people back into my life!!”
“Then why did you tell me?” Mary continued patiently, rising as well.
To her surprise, Carrie found she actually had to think about that one for a moment. “Because I had to tell someone,” she said at last. “It’s been gnawing at me inside. I thought… I thought maybe talking about it with someone would help.”
“And has it?”
“I don’t know,” Carrie admitted. “Does knowing about what I did change your opinion of me?”
“I suppose it explains why you’re pushing people away. But the killing you speak of, it doesn’t sound like you did it intentionally…”
“Of COURSE not!”
“So why would it change anyone’s opinion of you?”
“Because it changed my opinion of myself.”
Mary hesitated once more, so Carrie decided to save her the trouble of answering. “Look, it’s fine, I’ve said my bit, thanks for listening. It’s time you moved on to Julie. She’s someone you might actually be able to help.”
Without waiting for another response, Carrie turned and headed for the basement stairs. She heard Clarke’s sister offer up some final platitudes about friendship, but she chose to ignore them.
“Goddamn it, stop ignoring me!” Corry shouted. She heard him thump his fist into the wall of the LaMille living room.
“I’m not ignoring you,” Julie said, still refusing to meet his gaze. “I’ve heard every word.”
“Fine. Shall I drop by tomorrow to bring you to Clarke’s house, or can you make it on your own?”
“Julie, you are GOING! End of story.”
Julie finally spun. “If I’d known you were going to act like such an ass today, I would never have let you in the house!” she snapped.
“If I’d known what a selfish bitch you were becoming, I never would have offered you that partnership in running the school!” Corry shot back, meeting her gaze.
The brunette pursed her lips. “Touche,” she yielded. “But my going to see Mary… it won’t change anything!”
“Changing things is not the point!”
“What? Then what IS the point?!”
“The point is, Clarke is damn worried about you,” Corry answered. “And he’s not the only one. This closing yourself off simply because of – what is it anyway? Glen and his mental powers? Whatever your reasons, it isn’t healthy! I admit, Glen worries me too, but there’s not much we can do about him right now. Besides, he plays a good bass guitar.”
Julie sighed. “It’s more complicated than you make it sound.”
“I don’t doubt that!” The redhead paused. “Thing is, if you don’t go today, Clarke’s efforts will all be for naught. Efforts with my sister, with Chartreuse, hell, he’s risking being sent to the nuthouse by his own relatives for pity’s sake! He doesn’t deserve that. So you need to talk to Mary. Doesn’t matter what you say, be it the truth, some sob story about repressed issues with your parents, or what you’ll have for breakfast in the morning. Just go see the damn shrink, okay Julie?”
The two teenagers stared unflinchingly at each other across the room. “Fine!” Julie said at last. “But don’t expect miracles.”
“I never do,” Corry retorted, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Unless, that is, they’re the type of miracle which people like us manufacture, eh?” He fired off a grin, one that Julie found she could meet with a wan smile.
“Hey,” Frank replied, turning his head. He moved to rise from the swing he was sitting in, only to have Luci shake her head and sit herself down in the swing that was adjacent. She looked at the ground. So Frank did too. The ensuing silence was eventually broken by the sound of laughter from across the park, where a couple of kids seemed to be playing an evening game of tag. “You wanted us to talk,” Frank said at last.
“I’m not sure I love you,” Luci countered.
He jerked his gaze back up to see her looking at him, a sad, worried expression on her face. “Oh…” was all that came to mind.
“I’m sorry,” Luci continued, speaking in a rush. “It’s NOT you. It’s me. All me. Things in my history. Things that maybe, on a subconscious level, have had me pulling away ever since that logbook turned up. Leading to some conflicted feelings, and as long as I’m busy working through those, I don’t want to be in a relationship. Not with you, not with anybody.”
Frank stared. “So… we’re breaking up then?”
She winced. “I don’t… it’s… yeah,” she whispered. “We are. I’m sorry.”
“Do I get a say in this?”
She swallowed. “I… I guess? Thing is, some of my issues are about rejection.”
Frank tried to figure out where to take that. He felt strangely numb. “Well, for the record, what I feel for Carrie isn’t the same thing I feel for you.”
“I said it’s NOT about that!” Luci retorted, frustration creeping into her tone. “It’s about something from my past. About a time when I chose to be silent, and yet probably should have spoken up!”
“And it’s something you don’t think I can help with?”
“I didn’t say that either!” Luci countered. “Maybe you can. Actually, part of me hopes you can. But part of me also feels like it would be weird, talking to you about it as a boyfriend.” She rubbed her temples. “It’s like, when these memories charged in, it was a harbinger of the end of our relationship.”
She drew a deep breath. “Ugh, which sounds STUPID, now that I say it out loud. I don’t know, am I the only one who’s been feeling weird about events lately? Have you felt ANYTHING like this too??”
She looked so insistent that Frank felt a need to think back. And a thought did occur. “Now that you feel mention it,” he said slowly. “Shortly before Carrie woke up in the hospital last week, I felt… I can’t describe it. Adrift, somehow. Like something about my relationships with people had… changed. At the time, Chartreuse gave me a funny look. But then Carrie regained consciousness, so…” He shrugged.
“But then it’s not just me.” Luci finished. She sucked her lower lip into her mouth. “Except…” She shook her head. “Somehow, I don’t feel like that changes this. Changes us breaking up. I don’t know, I hope I can explain it better once I can process it myself. For now, know that I’m truly sorry. REALLY. For hurting you this way. It’s the last thing I… I ever wanted to…” Her voice caught.
He pulled a tissue out of his pocket and handed it over. “So we’re breaking up then,” he concluded, this time not making it a question. “I suppose it would be worse to string each other along, right?”
Luci finished blowing her nose. “I guess. Though maybe I’ve been doing some of that too, recently.”
“Or maybe it’s that I wasn’t paying attention. I’m good at that.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “There really are no easy answers, huh?”
Luci choked back a laugh. “Oh no. Did you talk to Clarke’s sister?”
“Er, maybe. That is, yeah. I hope she’ll have better luck with Julie than with us.”
Luci’s different coloured eyes shimmered slightly in the fading light as he looked at her again. “She didn’t do such a bad job with us, did she? We’re talking again.”
“Yeah,” Frank admitted. “Yeah, we are.” And despite all the confused feelings he was experiencing, when he grasped Luci by the hand, he found that he could still smile.
NEXT: That’s a Wrap